On a recent trip to London Book Fair (an industry event where many book rights deals are negotiated) to assist at the Publishing Scotland stand I was delighted to discover a Nordic countries stand. The stand was sizeable and each country had their own section. Groups such as the Swedish Literature Exchange and the Finnish Literature exchange were represented.
I picked up copies of The Swedish Book Review which is the journal of the Swedish-English Literary translators’ Association. It contains information on upcoming Swedish titles translated into English and other related articles.
I also picked up some of the catalogues from Icelandic publishers Crymogea (mainly art and photography books) , Odinsauga and Bokabeitan who describe themselves as a ‘progressive new publisher with a mission to promote reading for children, teens and young adults.’ Their keywords are quality and choice. I loved Odinsauga’s raven logo and their choice of font, it reminded me somehow of a similar font on Asterix books.
Some sample books and leaflets of work by authors I met at Iceland Noir were on display. Annti Tuomainen, Yrsa Sigurdardottir , Solveig Palsdottir and Lilja Sigurdardottir all had their work promoted there. Crymogea had a really great illustrated book called Bjor (Beer) to promote. It was a funny book about the world history of beer , a subject close to many Icelanders’ hearts as beer was banned in Iceland from 1815 to 1989.
From what I gather translation is a bit of a sticky topic with many publishers. It is seen as very high risk. Translators often get only a fee for their work and no percentage of sales royalties in later years. Often translators are not acknowledged much for their work in presenting another’s story. Within the crime genre there have been recently quite a few panels at events that have addressed translation and the discussions have always been interesting. I have assisted my mother with some translations and I know how much work goes into them finding the correct phrases, nuance and the problems of translating slang and specialist language. With translated crime becoming more popular this is a topic I am quite interested in and will post some more thoughts on it in the upcoming Newcastle Noir post where crime in translation was a hot topic.